Ever since I realized that I am trans, I have been saying that I’ll medically transition only once I start earning. However, after 4 long years of repeating the same sentence and not feeling any urgency about it, I wonder if I am just postponing it. Many guys who want to transition want to do it as soon as possible. But here I am getting more and more comfortable by just socially transitioning. Whenever dysphoria hits me, I try to control it by self-affirming statements like ‘I know my identity, and that’s enough’, and ‘One day my body will align with my gender.’
Now I am fast approaching the possibility of affording HRT, however, I still feel no sense of urgency regarding it. My mental health is good, my dysphoria is in check, my self-esteem is great, do I even need HRT?
I had set myself the goal that I’ll get my gender dysphoria certificate and start hormone replacement therapy only when I’ll have a stable job. I have just finished my studies and want to start earning now. I am trying to figure out what my strengths are, what skills I possess, whether or not I have a passion. And on the basis of these things, I am trying to narrow down the jobs I should apply for. I did my masters in Philosophy, which is not a subject which guarantees you a job when you graduate so the scope and range of jobs I can be suitable for are non-technical but wide. I am going out there on an exploration for a work that suits my abilities, and I think the best way to approach this would be for me to test the waters by doing internships. And by following this approach it might take me quite some time before I become financially stable.
I wonder when is the right time to transition. There’s no question of being trans enough. I am sure of my identity and yes I don’t want to be stuck in a time capsule and look like a kid for the rest of my life. And yet I don’t want my gender identity to be a cripple in any way for my career aspirations. I don’t want my trans identity to sabotage my goals. I don’t want dysphoria to stop me from going out there and grabbing the opportunities that I should be grabbing.
A lot of fears creep in coupled with dysphoria when I think about even going for a job interview- the biggest one being getting deadnamed and misgendered. Even getting rejected is not as big a fear as getting misgendered. To the cis people out there, such fears might seem irrational. But for a trans person, such fears are totally valid when our face and preferred name don’t match our identity cards or our educational certificates might not be in the same name. Such situations are everyday minor hurdles for us and might be the cause of severe anxiety in certain cases.
In the current socio-political environment of India, with BJP winning the Lok Sabha elections by a huge margin, and are sure to get a majority in the Rajya Sabha as well by next year, there is a legitimate fear within the trans community that the regressive Transgender Rights Bill might be reintroduced and end up becoming a law this time since there is a lack of strong opposition. But we are sure to fight for our rights no matter how long it takes. Such a situation is sure to rouse anxiety, especially in pre-transition trans youth and make them feel a sense of urgency towards transitioning before such a law is made and transitioning becomes difficult.
The statistics of trans youth’s employment and average salary is not too good in my city, especially for those who don’t get acceptance from their families. In such a situation, it becomes crucial to give precedence to education and career over gender transition.
When a person figures out their trans identity at a young age, it can be very tempting to transition as soon as possible. It’s hard to wait. However, it’s important to keep in mind that people transition at all ages, from teenage to being in their 30’s and 40’s. And it’s never too late to transition. It depends on individual circumstances. You need to be in the right financial, emotional and mental state to transition and deal with the various nuances of it.
At present, however, I wonder if I am just trying to resist change. Change is messy. You need to figure out new strategies to deal with change. Just like I dealt with social transition, coming out to family and friends, correcting my parents every time they misgendered me, it was scary but it felt like the right thing to do. It’s normal to feel anxious before starting something new. But figuring out when is the right time to step out of your comfort zone and try that new thing is also important. There’s neither any point in chickening out of doing a thing by overthinking its impact nor is there much point in hurriedly jumping into the wave especially when it’s not the right time. I feel what’s important is to set a deadline to start a new thing and contemplate upon it before the deadline to your heart’s content.
I remember earlier too having such last-minute doubts before getting my short haircut done and I had to be pushed to take the first step by my friends. I think I also have this complex of always worrying about whether a thing is a need or a desire. My frugal nature affects various aspects of my life too.
However, I am sure of my need to transition, I might take it slow but I’ll get there in my own time. At 22 years old, I still have a lot of time to figure this out and I believe that we have the power to make the process of gender transition more smooth and better over the coming years no matter what the political situations in the country bring.
So let’s see how that goes…